Oracle repeats promises to PeopleSoft users

Oracle on Friday again attempted to allay concerns among IT buyers, stating that it has only good intentions with its unsolicited bid for PeopleSoft.

Chief information officers (CIOs) are worried by the mudslinging executives, the lawsuits and the prospect of consolidation that will leave SAP AG and Oracle Corp. alone at the top of the enterprise application market.

"One thing that keeps me up at night is who is suing who," Geoff Penney, CIO at The Charles Schwab Corp. said Thursday at an event hosted by the Churchill Club in San Francisco. "It is insane, but worrying at the same time. We want three enemies who fight each other and really dislike each other. We don't want it to come down to Oracle financials or SAP financials."

Other IT buyers, PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards & Co. users especially, have voiced concerns. One, the State of Connecticut, filed an antitrust lawsuit against Oracle in a bid to block the takeover of PeopleSoft.

Chuck Phillips, an Oracle executive vice president who played an important role in launching the PeopleSoft bid, repeated in a conference call with reporters on Friday Oracle's promise that even though Oracle does not plan on selling PeopleSoft products, it would continue to support and enhance them.

"No customer will be required or forced to move from PeopleSoft applications," Phillips said. "We would not be paying more than $6 billion in hard cold cash for these customers if we didn't really want to have them," he said to illustrate the importance of PeopleSoft's users to Oracle.

Phillips also again called out to PeopleSoft management to drop their defenses against Oracle's sweetened US$6.3 billion unsolicited takeover bid. PeopleSoft's board on Friday again rejected Oracle's bid.

Phillips' remarks were backed up later on Friday by Oracle Chairman and Chief Executive Office Larry Ellison. "PeopleSoft executives are traveling around telling customers that we will 'kill' PeopleSoft's products and force them to move to Oracle's applications. These are lies and scare tactics," Ellison said in a statement.

If the takeover by Oracle succeeds, Phillips said, PeopleSoft partners will have plenty of work left servicing the installed user base and helping with ongoing upgrades. They could also become Oracle partners, he said.

Oracle launched its bid for PeopleSoft on June 6, days after PeopleSoft agreed to buy J.D. Edwards & Co. PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards have sued Oracle over its aggressive pursuit. Oracle shot back this week, increasing its offer for PeopleSoft and suing the company for "eliminating" shareholders' ability to accept the offer.

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